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Unitarian Universalist LGBT History Timeline

1967 March—Unitarian Universalist (UU) Committee on Goals publishes results of its survey on beliefs and attitudes within the denomination: 7.7% of UUs believe that homosexuality should be discouraged by law; 80.2% that it should be discouraged by education, not law; 12% that it should not be discouraged by law or education; .1% that it should be encouraged.

1969 September—LaForet, CO—The Reverend James L. Stoll publicly declares himself to be homosexual at Student Religious Liberals (SRL) Conference.

1970 July—General Assembly General Resolution to end Discrimination against Homosexuals and Bisexuals. Calls on congregations to develop sex education programs that promote healthy attitude toward all forms of sexuality.

1971 June—The Reverend Richard Nash and Elgin Blair co-found UU Gay Caucus (which later becomes Interweave Continental) to lobby for the creation of an Office of Gay Affairs.

1971 Creation of About Your Sexuality (AYS) curriculum, which attempted to teach a more positive attitude towards homosexuality and bisexuality.

1972 Creation of the Invisible Minority, an adult curriculum about homosexuality.

1973 Invisible Minority wins an award from the National Coalition on Family Relations.

1973 June—General Assembly General Resolution to Create an Office of Gay Affairs that will be staffed by gay people and be a resource to the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA).

1974 June—General Assembly Business Resolution to fund the Office of Gay Concerns.

1975 June—General Assembly Business Resolution to continue funding the Office of Gay Concerns.

1975 January—Arlie Scott hired as Director of Office of Gay Concerns.

1977 June—General Assembly Business Resolution to urge UUs to fight negative propaganda against gays.

1977 The Reverend Robert Wheatley becomes new Director of Office of Gay Concerns; starts Boston UU Gays and Lesbians (BUUGL), which met at the Arlington Street Church.

1979 The Reverend Douglas Morgan Strong called to serve All Souls Church, Augusta, Maine, thus becoming the first out gay man in the UU ministry to be called to serve a congregation.

1979 Gay and Lesbian Affirmed (GALA) founded by the Reverend Robert Wheatley and cosponsored by the Office of Gay Concerns and Ferry Beach Park Association. A one-week conference, including workshops, worship, fun, fellowship. Success prompted founding of Gay Men's Spirituality Weekend and Sappho's Sisters conference.

1980 June—General Assembly Business Resolution urging UUs, the UUA and the Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association (UUMA) to assist in the settlement of openly gay, lesbian, and bisexual ministers.

1984 June—General Assembly Business Resolution affirming the practice of UUA clergy performing Services of Union between same-gender couples, and requesting that the Department of Ministerial and Congregational Services develop and distribute supporting materials.

1986 June—General Assembly General Resolution that calls UUs to work to end AIDS discrimination through education and advocacy.

1986 The Reverend Jay Deacon becomes the Director of Office of Lesbian and Gay Concerns; UUA Board of Trustees appoints AIDS Advisory Panel, which recommends the formation of AIDS Action Working Group.

1986 UUA adds non-discrimination clause for employees who are HIV-positive to Personnel Manual.

1987 June—General Assembly Business Resolution calls UUs to Support Legal Equity for Gays and Lesbians by working to overturn legislation restricting rights of gays and lesbians, including boycotting products and services of organizations that have a policy of discrimination.

1988 July—The Reverend Mark Mosher DeWolfe, UU minister in Ontario, Canada, dies of AIDS.

1989 June—General Assembly Business Resolution to adopt the Welcoming Congregation Program to combat homophobia in UU congregations and to educate individual UUs.

1989 June—General Assembly General Resolution opposing discriminatory practices towards people with AIDS/HIV and urges fuller effort towards education and treatment, including institution of clean needle program.

1989 June—General Assembly Resolution of Immediate Witness condemning the Helms Amendment to restrict the travel rights of HIV-infected people into the US.

1989 The Reverend Scott Alexander becomes Director of Office of Lesbian and Gay Concerns.

1990 Fall—Publication of The Welcoming Congregation Handbook, edited by the Reverend Scott Alexander and Stephen L'Heureux. Handbook to be used as resource material for implementing the Welcoming Congregation Program.

1991 The Reverend Meg Riley becomes the Director of Office of Lesbian and Gay Concerns.

1992 Welcoming Congregation Trainers Conference held in Boston to train district leaders in conducting homophobia workshops.

1992 June—UUA Board of Trustees resolution expressing disapproval of the Boy Scouts of America's policy of discrimination against gay and atheist scouts and leaders.

1992 June—General Assembly Resolution of Immediate Witness Opposing Legalization of Discrimination Against Gays, Lesbians, and Bisexuals (Response to hate campaigns in OR and CO).

1993 UUA Board of Trustees votes unanimously to make Director of OLGC a full-time position; Office name changes to Office of Lesbian, Bisexual and Gay Concerns (OLBGC) to reflect commitment to the bisexual community.

1993 April 25—UUA endorses the March on Washington for Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Equal Rights and Liberation. UUA Board of Trustees adjourns its quarterly Boston meeting to reconvene in Washington, D.C., and attend the March. Opening service at All Souls Unitarian Church. Closing worship at Sojourner Truth Congregation. Thousands of UUs attended.

1993 June—General Assembly Resolution of Immediate Witness supporting the Acceptance of Openly Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Persons in the United States Military.

1994 June—General Assembly Resolution of Immediate Witness to Support the Employment Non-Discrimination Act of 1994 around issues of sexual orientation.

1993 June—General Assembly stages public protest against North Carolina’s “crime against nature” laws. As required by GA 1987 resolution, UUA Board, staff, members, and GA delegates participated in candlelight vigil and witnessing.

1994 June—General Assembly Resolution of Immediate Witness regarding Sexuality Education in Public Schools; (sponsored by the Youth Caucus) urges that public sexuality education be comprehensive, unbiased, up-to-date, and inclusive of all sexual orientations.

1996 The Reverend Keith Kron becomes Director of Office of Lesbian, Bisexual and Gay Concerns.

1996 UUA Board of Trustees passes resolution in support of Same-Gender Marriage.

1996 April—Office name changes to Office of Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian and Transgender Concerns (OBGLTC) to reflect commitment to the transgender community.

1996 June—General Assembly Resolution of Immediate Witness in Support of the Right to Marry for Same-Sex Couples.

1997 February, San Diego, CA—OBGLTC holds workshop about revisions to the Welcoming Congregation Program prior to Interweave Convocation.

1997 June—General Assembly Action of Immediate Witness in Support for Non-Discriminatory Corporate and Other Business Policies.

1997 June—General Assembly stages Sodomy Law Protest in form of an educational panel in Phoenix, Arizona.

1997 October—OBGLTC sponsors training on transgender issues for UUA's Ministerial Fellowship Committee, Ministry Department and Faith in Action Department.

1998 February, Orlando, FL—OBGLTC holds second workshop about revisions to the Welcoming Congregation Program prior to Interweave Convocation.

1999 April—OBGLTC provides training on transgender issues for the UUA's Religious Education Department.

1999 April—Welcoming Congregation Handbook, 2nd edition, released.

1999 May—Montana becomes first state where all Unitarian Universalist congregations are Welcoming Congregations.
 

1999 June—General Assembly Action of Immediate Witness to Work to Change Discriminatory Policies of Boy Scouts of America.

2000 April—OBGLTC provides training on transgender issues for the UUA’s Congregational, District and Extension Services Department.

2000 April—UUA staff attend the Millennium March on Washington for BGLT equality.

2000 May—Challenging the Religious “Right” (PDF) resource completed.

2000 June—25% of all UUA congregations are Welcoming Congregations.

2000 June—Liberal Religious Educators Association (LREDA) becomes first Welcoming Organization.

2001 March—OBGLTC presents workshop on transgender issues at UU Urban Church Conference.
 

2001 June—General Assembly Action of Immediate Witness supporting No Tax Dollars for Faith-Based Initiatives, including those that discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation.

2002 April—The Welcoming Congregation Handbook is revised to include gender-neutral pronouns throughout the book.

2002 May 12—The Reverend Sean Parker Dennison called to serve South Valley UU congregation of Salt Lake City, UT, thus becoming the first out transgender person in the UU ministry to be called to serve a congregation as a parish minister.

2002 May 19—The Reverend Laurie J. Auffant called to serve Follen Church Society of Lexington, MA, thus becoming the first out transgender person in the UU ministry to be called to serve a congregation as a minister of religious education.
 

2002 June—General Assembly Action of Immediate Witness to Quebec's Union Civile Law Passes Giving Same-Sex Couples Full Legal Equality.

2003 May—Crossing Paths: Where Transgender and Religion Meet (PDF) resource completed and published.

2004 February—UUA President’s Freedom to Marry Fund is launched.

2004 May 17—UUA President the Reverend William G. Sinkford legally marries Hillary and Julie Goodridge, lead plaintiffs in Goodridge v. Massachusetts Department of Public Health in Eliot Hall at the Unitarian Universalist Association.

2004 June—Living the Welcoming Congregation, the web-accessible follow-up curriculum to the Welcoming Congregation Program, is made available to UU Welcoming Congregations.

2005 February—69 out of 74 California UU congregations participate in Standing on the Side of Love Sunday and send nearly 4,000 Valentines to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in support of marriage equality.

2005 May 17—UUA hosts celebration of first year anniversary of marriage equality in Massachusetts for seven Massachusetts plaintiff couples and all UU couples married in Massachusetts over the past year.

2006 June—50% of all UUA congregations in the United States are Welcoming Congregations.

2007 June—General Assembly Action of Immediate Witness to Pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act with Transgender Inclusion and Protection.

2007 June—General Assembly Action of Immediate Witness to Repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" around issues of sexual orientation.

2007 June—General Assembly Action of Immediate Witness to Support Comprehensive Sexuality Education Legislation.

2007 June—General Assembly Responsive Resolution Confronting Gender Identity Discrimination.

2007 November—Interweave Continental releases Bisexuality curriculum.

2008 February—OBGLTC facilitates workshop specific to helping small congregations become Welcoming.

2008 March—UUA Committee on Socially Responsible Investing files stockholder resolution with Wal-Mart to prohibit discrimination in employment based on gender identity (PDF).

2010 April—650 UUA congregations in the United States are Welcoming Congregations.

For more information contact lgbt @ uua.org.

This work is made possible by the generosity of individual donors and congregations. Please consider making a donation today.

Last updated on Tuesday, August 21, 2012.

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